National Popcorn Month

October

Popcorn

Photo Credit: Zanastardust
(Creative Commons)
Although popcorn is eaten around the world its spiritual home is without doubt America. It's therefore not overly surprising that the US should have not just a day but an entire month dedicated to the fun treat: October is national Popcorn Month.

As with many such product based holidays, National Popcorn Day is a boon to the industry - not just the popcorn sellers directly but also to venues such as cinemas where people buy snacks. The celebration became official in 1999 when Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman declared the first National Popcorn Poppin' Month.

Why October? The official answer is that it represents the end of the hard work of farmers during the spring and summer that result in their corn crops. A more cynical suggestion might be that as summer ends and the days shorten people are more likely to visit the movies and turn to comfort food such as popcorn. Popcorn is big business - Americans consume some 16 billion quarts per year (a quart is just under a litre). That's a lot of kernels popped!

Varieties

When talking about any form of snack food the issue of health is always to the fore, so is popcorn healthy? There are conflicting arguments. Corn itself is generally a healthy, low-calorie food. This remains true once it has ben "popped" in air. However much of the popcorn you can buy today is popped in oil and has flavourings such as sugar, butter or salt added. This can obviously change its nutritional profile considerably.

There are healthier and - in my opinion - tastier flavourings available for popcorn, however you can rarely buy these in fast food outlets such as movie houses. This makes National Popcorn Month a good time to experiment with making your own popcorn or buying some of the gourmet varieties available online in tins, gift baskets, etc. There are a huge variety of flavours available - popped or unpopped - such as hot chipotle, cheese, garlic and more indulgent options such as chocolate or peanut butter. Not all of these are necessarily healthy but they're all fun!

Oh, and whilst we're on the subject of poppin': no, you can't cook popcorn with your cell phone! Those (in)famous hoax videos were a viral marketing campaign by a company that sells Bluetooth headsets.



External Links:
The Popcorn Board